The bill, HB 126, would prohibit abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy — after a heartbeat is detected — though many women often don’t know they’re pregnant in that time. The bill includes exceptions for medical emergencies but not for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest.
Its companion bill in the GOP-controlled Senate passed early Thursday 24-10.
The move would avert retaliatory tariffs Canada and Mexico had been considering to pressure Trump on the issue.
“Things are pretty much settled, but nothing is done until it’s done,” a second person familiar with the situation told CNN.
It also clears a key hurdle for ratification of Trump’s replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Officials from Canada and Mexico have been adamant that they would not ratify the new US-Canada-Mexico Agreement, signed by leaders of all three countries late last year, until the metal tariffs were removed.
The tariffs, which were imposed last year on national security grounds, have been a source of consternation on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers from both parties calling on Trump to lift them.
The White House move comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached out to Trump by phone three times in less than a week.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland met with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington to try and hammer out the details.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
The bill, known as the “Equality Act,” would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. But critics argue it raises serious concerns for religious communities as well as women’s sports.
Transgender teens in schools with bathroom restrictions are at higher risk of sexual assault, study says

It passed largely along party lines in the Democratic-controlled House, 236-173, but it’s not expected to be taken up in the GOP-led Senate. Eight Republicans supported the bill.
Conservatives argue the bill threatens freedom of speech, religion and women’s rights. In a heated floor debate before the vote, Republicans pointed to a provision in the bill that says an individual could not be denied access to a restroom, locker room or dressing room based on their gender identity. Opponents say that would force women and girls to share private spaces with men. Critics also say the bill could facilitate men participating in women’s sports if they identify as female.
“Requiring biological females (to) face competition from biological males will mean the end of women’s sports in any meaningful sense,” said Rep. Greg Steube, a Florida Republican.
And while supporters say the bill does not affect houses of worship because of religious protections, critics note that the bill could still apply to religiously affiliated institutions, schools, and hospitals that receive federal money.
“What if a Catholic church who accepts school lunch programs, what if a Jewish synagogue who accepts money from Homeland Security … do they then have to violate their own faith beliefs? Making one group of people deny their faith while trying to give another one a leg up is still wrong. It’s not equal,” said Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.
Democrats, meanwhile, defended the bill, saying it would be a historic marker for LGBTQ rights, since people could still be legally fired, evicted or denied services in in more than two dozen states based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“This is not about a red herring about men wanting to play in women’s sports. Please, this is about people like my husband Phil and I,” said Rep. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat, as he held up a photo of his husband.
“If we pass the Equality Act, people like Phil and I can be free to love who we want to love and live where we want to live and we can work where we want to work, without being fired or evicted simply because of who we are and who we love,” he added.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York — a Democrat who in 2014 became the second member of Congress to legally wed his same-sex partner while in office — made an appeal to Republican colleagues who might be personally in favor of the bill but fear political backlash if they support it.
Buttigieg wields his military credentials: 'It's not like I killed Bin Laden,' but it was dangerous

Buttigieg wields his military credentials: 'It's not like I killed Bin Laden,' but it was dangerous

“My colleagues, I know you. I know you are good and decent people,” he said on the floor. “Let conscience guide us to the right and please support this bill.”
A White House official earlier this week said that while the Trump administration opposes all discrimination, it will not support the House-sponsored “Equality Act,” saying it’s “filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.”
The passage of the bill comes one day after President Donald Trump offered support to Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination and who would be the first married gay US president if elected.
In an interview with Fox News, the President was asked to put aside policy disagreements and weigh in on Buttigieg’s status as a married gay man.
“Don’t you think it’s just great to see the fact that you’ve got a guy there on the stage with his husband and it’s normal?” Fox’s Steve Hilton asked.
“I think it’s absolutely fine, I do,” Trump said.
He agreed with Hilton’s assessment that Buttigieg’s candidacy is a “sign of great progress,” adding, “Yeah, I think it’s great. I think that’s something that perhaps some people will have a problem with, I have no problem with it whatsoever.”
At an initial appearance hearing in Virginia federal court, Daniel Hale also waived his write to a speedy trial, acknowledging what a judge said could be an unusually long trial because of the amount of sensitive information it will cover.
Hale was arrested last week in Nashville and charged with multiple counts of mishandling national defense information.
According to court documents, Hale, a former airman who also served as an intelligence officer at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, allegedly printed dozens of documents from his government computer and provided at least 17 to a reporter, many of which were classified as top secret or secret.
The reporter and the news outlet he or she works for was not identified in court documents, but appears to be Jeremy Scahill, a co-founder of the investigative news outlet The Intercept, who has written extensively about the covert US drone program.
In a statement last week The Intercept’s editor-in-chief said she would not comment on “matters relating to the identify of anonymous sources” but called the documents allegedly leaked by Hale “of vital public importance.”
Hale appeared in court with a black T-shirt that exposed tattoos on his forearms. A woman who identified herself as his sister greeted him after the hearing.
Hale declined comment as he left the courtroom. He is not being detained ahead of his trial.
He is expected back in Virginia federal court on July 12 for a status conference.
Jesselyn Radack, a national security and human rights attorney who is working with Hale’s defense team, called Hale a whistleblower who was accused of “contacting the press about a matter of extreme public importance.”
“These cases are part of a coordinated campaign to deprive the public of information about our government, and they lay the groundwork to go after more mainstream media sources, outlets and publishers,” Radack said in an email.
The talks will come as there has been growing unease on Capitol Hill about the looming spending cuts and need for a debt ceiling increase set to come into play at the end of September.
The top four congressional leaders include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Several sources have noted that two of the top players in the White House — acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and acting OMB Director Russ Vought — have indicated they would be willing to let sequestration take effect in order to underscore the administration’s commitment to fiscal restraint.
But it’s an idea that members of both parties object to, with the approximately $120 billion in automatic cuts hitting key priorities on domestic and Pentagon spending that have long been the trigger for past budget deals. The need for a debt ceiling increase, with no clear vehicle to do it at the moment, has also unsettled some lawmakers. As it stands, Republicans have pushed to decouple the two issues, but Democrats are insisting a budget deal and debt ceiling increase be paired together, as they have been in the past.
Politico first reported news of next week’s meeting.
The meeting comes as McConnell and McCarthy have stressed to President Donald Trump multiple times over the past several weeks that work on a deal needs to begin in earnest. McConnell, after a meeting with McCarthy and Trump last month, publicly announced the creation of a staff level working group to try and lay the groundwork for a possible deal. The talks are now elevating to the principal level.
Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met with McConnell on Capitol Hill Thursday. McConnell met with Trump on Tuesday to discuss the issue and the President in recent weeks has been described as willing to hear out negotiators on a possible deal, despite the debate inside the White House over whether to let the scheduled cuts take effect.
The report the university released was compiled by independent investigators and details acts of sexual abuse believed to be carried out by the late Dr. Richard Strauss against at least 177 students while he worked at the school between 1978 and 1998.
“The report concludes that university personnel at the time had knowledge of complaints and concerns about Strauss’ conduct as early as 1979 but failed to investigate or act meaningfully,” the university said in a statement.
In a message sent to the OSU community, President Michael Drake said the report’s “findings are shocking and painful to comprehend.”
Ohio State University says it's creating a new office to respond to sexual violence and harassment

The allegations against Strauss — who died by suicide in 2005 — emerged last year after former Ohio State athletes came forward to claim the doctor had sexually abused them under the guise of a medical examination.
The university announced last April it had hired a law firm to investigate Strauss’ alleged misconduct.

OSU apologizes for ‘fundamental failure’ to act

Ohio Republican Sen. Jim Jordan, a former OSU wrestler and assistant coach, came under scrutiny last year when former teammates said he knew about Strauss’ alleged abuse. Jordan has repeatedly denied having any knowledge of the abuse.
“On behalf of the university, we offer our profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss’ abuse,” Drake said. “Our institution’s fundamental failure at the time to prevent this abuse was unacceptable — as were the inadequate efforts to thoroughly investigate complaints raised by students and staff members.”
Drake credited the completion of the investigation to the “strength and courage of survivors” who were willing to share their experiences.

Complaints of abuse persisted for years

The report — compiled by investigators from the law firm Perkins Coie — said Strauss sexually abused “at least 177 male student-patients.”
Some of those victims came under treatment by Strauss because he was a team physician in the OSU Athletics Department, the report said. Others he treated as a physician in the Student Health Center or as part of “other pursuits,” the report said.
Some of the abuse was more obvious and “overt,” investigators found, while some of it was “more subtle” and “masked with a pretextual medical purpose.”
Allegations of abuse were made as early as Strauss’ first year at the school, the report said, and continued throughout the next two decades.
Dr. Richard Strauss, in an undated file photo

Dr. Richard Strauss, in an undated file photo

Yet those complaints went no further than the Athletics and Student Health departments until 1996, according to the report. That’s when Strauss was suspended after a student accused him of abuse during an examination at the Student Health clinic.

Abuse on and off campus

OSU “undertook a very limited investigation of Strauss’ complaint history,” the report said. And while it ultimately ended with the doctor’s removal from the Athletics Department and Student Health, “his status as a tenured faculty member remained unaffected.”
The abuse continued at a private “men’s clinic” that Strauss had opened off campus with the approval of the school’s Associate Vice President of Health Sciences and Academic Affairs at the time. According to the report, the clinic specialized in sexually transmitted diseases and urological issues. Strauss was allowed to advertise the clinic in the student newspaper.
“Personally, I would have the exceptions,” McDaniel told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day,” referring to cases of rape and incest, which are not included in Alabama’s bill. “That’s my personal belief.”
Alabama’s governor on Wednesday signed into law the nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion bill that could punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison. The law only allows exceptions “to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” for ectopic pregnancy and if the “unborn child has a lethal anomaly.” Democrats fell short in their attempt to re-introduce an amendment to exempt rape and incest victims.
Despite her criticism of the new law, however, McDaniel’s defended the wide range of views within the Republican Party.
“We are a party that is a broad tent. If you agree with us 80% of the time, I want you to be a Republican. We don’t have a litmus test as to whether you can belong to our party,” McDaniel said. “But we are the party of life. However, we have senators, like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and governors on different sides of that.”
The controversial new bill elicited a wave of protest from Republicans and Democrats alike — including 2020 hopefuls.
Elizabeth Warren calls for federal protections for abortion rights, warns GOP efforts to overturn Roe 'just might work'

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke all ripped the legislation as unconstitutional.
Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called the bill an example of “appalling attacks on women’s lives and fundamental freedoms.”
On the other side of the aisle, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins told CNN’s Manu Raju the controversial new bill was “extreme.”
“The Alabama law is a terrible law — it’s very extreme — it essentially bans all abortions. I can’t imagine that any justice could find that to be consistent with the previous precedents,” Collins said.
Of course, Saturday’s moon won’t actually be blue. And the reason for the name is a little confusing.
A blue moon is the second of two full moons in a month — but it can also be the third of four full moons during a single season. In this case, it’s the third of four full moons this spring. These don’t occur as often as two full moons in a month.
Chinese mission uncovers secrets on the far side of the moon

“The name ‘Blue Moon’ has nothing to do with the color of the Moon,” Gianluca Masi, astrophysicist and director of the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome, wrote in an email. “Every two to three years we have 13 full Moons within a year. This way, we can have four full Moons during a given season or two full Moons in a given month.”
This is the last seasonal blue moon until August 2021.
Very rarely, both types of blue moons happen in one year; this will occur in 2048, including a monthly blue moon in January and a seasonal one in August.
Sometimes, the moon can actually appear blue during certain sky conditions, but it can’t be predicted.
So, on Saturday, enjoy the sight of the beautiful moon with some appreciation for what it means. And to see a dramatic full moon over the Rome skyline, watch the live stream provided by the Virtual Telescope Project.

The Missouri Senate passed a bill early Thursday that prohibits abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy.

The bill, HB 126, is known as the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act.” It bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected. It allows exceptions for medical emergencies but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

Many women often aren’t aware they’re pregnant in the first eight weeks.

The bill passed the GOP-controlled Senate 24-10. All of the “yay” votes were from Republican senators.

What happens next: The bill has to go back to the state House for one more vote before it goes to GOP Gov. Mike Parson.

Parson has voiced his support for the legislation, saying it would make Missouri “one of the strongest pro-life states” in the United States.

“I made a promise to all Missourians that I would continue advocating and promoting a culture of life here in Missouri,” Parson said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Last month, in testimony on Capitol Hill, Barr said that “spying did occur” on President Donald Trump’s campaign, adding: “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.” Under questioning, again on Capitol Hill, earlier this month, Barr refused to walk back the claim. “I’m not going to abjure the use of the word ‘spying,'” he told Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D). “I think, you know, my first job was in CIA. And I don’t think the word ‘spying’ has any pejorative connotation at all.”

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And now, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal this week, Barr is going even further. “Government power was used to spy on American citizens,” Barr told the Journal. “I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly.”
In that same interview, Barr also said:
  • “If we’re worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be worried about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale. I’m not saying that happened but it’s something we have to look at.”
  • And, of the so-called Steele dossier: “It’s a very unusual situation to have opposition research like that. And to use that to conduct counter intelligence against an American political campaign is a strange — would be strange development.”
Barr’s claims — or insinuations — run directly counter to what we know to be the facts about the origins and conduct of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation.
First, there’s the “spying” claim. What we know is that the FBI sought a warrant to allow them to conduct surveillance against Carter Page, a one-time foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign. That request went through a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which found that the FBI had probable cause to believe that Page was an agent of a foreign power. In addition to the first FISA warrant, the surveillance of Page was subsequently re-approved three more times. (Worth noting: The judges who sit on the FISC are all appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts was appointed to the court by Republican President George W. Bush.)
While Barr says he doesn’t put any “pejorative” meaning on the word “spying,” the head of the FBI — Christopher Wray — clearly does. Wray told a Senate committee earlier this month that “spying” was “not the term I would use,” adding:
“Lots of people have different colloquial phrases. I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity and part of investigative activity includes surveillance activity of different shapes and sizes. To me the key question is making sure that it’s done by the book consistent with our lawful authorities.”
Asked earlier this week about Wray’s comments, Trump himself said this: “I didn’t understand his answer. Because I thought the attorney general answered it perfectly. So I certainly didn’t understand that answer. I thought it was a ridiculous answer.”
So, there’s that.
Then there is Barr’s statement that the Steele dossier might have been used “to conduct counter intelligence against an American political campaign.” What we now of the origin of the FBI probe into Russia interference in the 2016 election is that it began in the summer of that year — after WikiLeaks began publishing emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. That move prompted Australian officials to reach out to American intelligence officials to alert them that one of their diplomats had engaged in a conversation with one-time Trump adviser George Papadopoulos earlier in the year in which Papadopoulos had said that he knew the Russians had dirt on Clinton. And from there, the investigation began.
The Steele dossier — an opposition research document put together by a former British spy and funded by the DNC and Clinton — was not the genesis of the investigation. Portions of the Steele dossier have been independently confirmed by US law enforcement officials although the more salacious parts have not.
We know all of that because of testimony — under oath — by former FBI Director James Comey and the Mueller report.
The FBI, in its application for a wiretap warrant against Page, referenced that they partially relied on the Steele dossier, and the FISA court still gave permission for the surveillance. Page had discontinued his association with the campaign, for which he was an unpaid outside adviser, by the time the FISA was sought and approved.
If Barr has evidence that any or all of what Comey, Mueller and Wray have said is wrong, then it is an absolutely HUGE story. And based on the game he is talking, it seems to suggest he either does or thinks he will by the time the investigation into the investigation concludes. Of course, if Barr is, well, just talking, the damage he is doing is real and lasting — providing cover and fodder for those (including the President of the United States) who believe Trump is the target of a vast “deep state” conspiracy.